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A Polish illustrator’s world of fairytales, not just for children!

The Polish School of Poster Art and the legacy of Picasso and Matisse mixed with folklore elements and the challenges of the 21st century: the expressive drawings of Polish illustrator Gosia Herba use authentic characters to tell stories for children and adults alike.

For more than thirteen years, Gosia has been working for magazines, book and music publishers, advertising agencies, and co-authoring the children’s books she illustrates. In the course of her career, she has collaborated with partners such as The Washington Post, Penguin Random House, Google, WeTransfer, and Asos. Her recognizable style prevails throughout her works, with only the nuances and emotional tone vary depending on the target audience for a given project. Her illustrations for children are fresh and lighthearted, while other works sometimes feel dramatic due to the depth of cultural references.

The dramatic character is most evident in her series of folk tales and myths adapted from around the world. The Werewolf’s Bride, for example, is based on an Italian folk tale: the werewolf husband accidentally tears his new wife apart on his wedding night, and in the morning, realizing what he has done, ends his own life.

Her drawings for children are part of the popular genre of Polish fairy-tale illustrations. The genre has been flourishing in the country since the mid-20th century, and in the 1960s there was a newly published book for almost every day of the year. These were often illustrated by famous artists of the time. Invented by Animals, for example, introduces young readers to the creatures that inspired our technological devices. Van Dog is an interactive picture book that explores the philosophy of art through the character of a painting dog, with plenty of detail, dialogue, art and pop culture references, and something to look for and laugh at. A third, more educational publication meant for a wider age range, Antik világ 100 szóban (“Ancient World in 100 Words”—free translation) provide an easily digestible and entertaining insight into the characters, events, and inventions of the ancient world with the help of 100 carefully selected concepts and illustrations.

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